The 12 Best Lightweight Laptops of 2019

Ultrabooks: fulfill all your computer's needs without the added bulk and weight

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

4.7

When it comes to budget-friendly laptops, HD resolution is often the first thing to be eliminated. Not so with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. You can still enjoy all your favorite videos in picture-perfect 1080p on the 12.5-inch anti-glare screen. This Chromebook is a definitely lightweight at only 2.65 pounds and can easily transform from a laptop into a tablet with its flexible 360-degree hinge. The interface and controls are very user-friendly — the touch screen is very responsive, the touchpad is appealingly oversized, and the backlit keyboard provides 1.4mm of key travel for comfortable typing.

The Chromebook Flip C302 contains an Intel Pentium 4405Y processor with 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM to provide fast and reliable performance (even on a budget). You also receive 100GB of additional storage on Google Drive. Despite its slim design, this laptop also provides an adequate amount of port space: USB 3.1 and Type-C ports, a micro SD slot, and a standard audio jack. The battery life lasts about 10 hours per charge. While some may find that 4GB of storage to be a bit on the small side, the Chromebook is a reliable laptop that won’t break the bank.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best laptops under $500

Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

4.6

The Microsoft Surface 2 features a lovely, sleek design that easily rivals the MacBook Air. Like its Surface predecessor, its dimensions are 12.13 x 8.79 x 0.96 inches and it weighs 2.76 pounds. The 13.5-inch display also features full HD resolution with 201 pixels-per-inch, delivering crisp, vivid colors and deep shadows. The Surface 2 comes in four fashionable tone-on-tone color combinations: black, platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy.

For the Surface 2, Microsoft boasts faster processing speeds than its predecessor. Also, one of the laptops main draws is the option to customize your own specs. In its most baseline configuration, it offers an 8th-generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state storage. Microsoft also includes descriptions for each of these specs to help buyers determine which combination best fits their needs.

We’ve really only found two downsides with the Surface 2. The first is the battery life: while Microsoft promises 14.5 hours of use on a single charge, many users report that the laptop tends to last for closer to 5.5 hours with a normal level of use. The second issue is the outdated ports: The Surface 2 has a Type-A USB input but doesn’t include a standard 3.1 USB port. If you’re planning to use this laptop more like a mobile workstation, then this probably isn’t a huge problem, but it is strange to see such an outdated spec on an otherwise top-quality product.

Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6”

4.6

LG released a powerhouse of an ultrabook that is winning accolades for being one of the lightest and slimmest 15” screens. The specs are sure to impress, as the laptop tries to be the best gram for gram on the market. It weighs a featherweight 2.5 pounds, thanks to a sleek metal alloy body made from advanced nano carbon and magnesium for a durable, but ultra-lightweight case that is less than 0.7” thick. Meanwhile, the thin bezel doesn’t distract from the gorgeous IPS screen that gives more viewing area and exquisite style.

Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The battery keeps going for over 15 hours of power, while DTS Headphone: X delivers expansive 11.1 channels of audio for a revelatory listening experience.

Best 2-in-1: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

 Best Buy

Samsung’s response to the MacBook Pro and the Surface Pro, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is a high-end, feature-rich computer that is both adaptable and affordable. The 2-in-1 device weighs just 2.9 pounds and contains 8GB of system memory and a 128GB solid-state drive for a faster startup time while reducing noise, heat production, and battery wear. The accompanying S Pen, which never requires charging, and Windows Ink let you jot down ideas or visuals, and Intel HD Graphics 620 can provide quality graphics for visual artists or casual gamers. The 360-degree hinge allows the Notebook 9 Pro to function as a laptop, tablet, tent, or stand. The Bluetooth 4.1 interface makes sharing media and music easy between compatible devices, and the laptop can be connected to an HDTV or high-definition monitor for a dual-screen display. Though the panel is glossy, the RealView display gives you up to 450 nits in "outdoor mode" so the Notebook 9 Pro can be used while racing between activities and obligations.  

Check out our other reviews of the best laptops available on the market today.

Best Apple: Apple MacBook Air (2018)

When the first gen MacBook Air came out, Apple advertised it as being so thin that you could slide it into a manila folder. Since then, a lot of other Apple laptops have come out that are even lighter and even more powerful, including the 2017 12-inch MacBook. But in 2018, Apple dropped an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook air, and it comes with some welcome additions. At 2.75 pounds and 15.6 mm in thickness, it very clearly makes the cut for “lightweight,” and the tapered-toward-the-front design makes it look and feel even thinner from certain angles.

Inside, there’s an 8th-gen core i5 processor, so you won’t get top-of-the-line processor speeds, but it does beat many other “lightweight” PCs. Another great addition here is that you can opt for RAM as much as 16GB, so you’ll be able to bolster that middle-of-the-road processor with some high levels of on-demand memory. Another factor contributing to the speed is the upgraded super-fast SSDs that you can configure up to 1.5 TB for tons of storage headroom. The slim size doesn't hamper battery capacity as much as you would expect, either — Apple advertises up to 12 hours on a single charge. The single USB-C/Thunderbolt port and the slightly tinny speakers do detract from the premium experience a bit. But the presence of a fingerprint sensor and the (finally) upgraded 2560 x 1600 pixel 13.3-inch display make this a lightweight laptop that’s worth a look.

Best for Multitaskers: LG Gram 17

The LG Gram 17 is designed to be the laptop for those on-the-go, whether that’s running between meetings or finishing work while in the great outdoors. Along with a 72Wh lithium battery built to last up to 19.5 hours, the laptop has also passed seven tests of the U.S. military standard to prove its ability to handle nearly any condition, from extreme temperatures to dust to impacts. The large 17-inch WQXGA (2560x1600) 16:1 IPS display results in stunning visuals, and the 8th Gen Intel Core Processor, 16GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD make it a powerhouse. That doesn’t mean the device is bulky; rather, it's built with a metal alloy consisting of nanocarbon and magnesium and weighs just 2.95 pounds. The laptop also prioritizes security and convenience with a fingerprint reader — no more entering a password to access your computer. 

Best for Students: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

 Dell.com

An exercise in innovation, the Dell XPS 13 is a powerful, portable laptop with a base model that is relatively affordable but doesn’t compromise on performance or display. Featuring up to new 9th Gen Intel Quad Core processors, the laptop can accommodate your work and streaming needs, and the 21-hour battery life means you won’t have to stop mid-day to recharge. Dell Cinema upgrades the personal entertainment experience, with CinemaColor delivering rich visuals and CinemaSound creating high-quality audio. Use Dell Power Manager to customize preferences for acoustics, temperature, and performance using a variety of different modes including "quiet," "ultra-performance," and "cool." Thanks to speech technology and built-in mics, the computer is voice-activated and responds to your commands. Other options are available with up to 8GB and 16GB of memory. The laptop is available in three colors: frost, rose gold, or platinum silver.

Best Design: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 packs a 13.3” display in a laptop the size of a typical 11” notebook, which makes for a computer that’s both compact and lightweight. Whether you’re at work or playing, the 2.7-pound XPS 13 has more than enough horsepower to get you through the day.

Our model of choice includes an Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, up to 11 hours of battery life and Windows 10. That option is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a QHD+ display, but still offers the non-touch InfinityEdge border which remains stunning no matter your configuration. With a comfortable keyboard to type on, precise trackpad, huge range of configurations and a design that’s unrivaled, the Dell XPS 13 is fantastic.

Best Value: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei is central to a tech revolution right now: overseas brands taking the market by storm with no-frills devices that give you a ton of bang for your buck. Now, before you go arguing that this is a premium laptop due to the price tag, it’s important to note that it offers features that are nearly on-par with the MacBook Pro for well under the price. The MateBook X Pro, like a few other laptops, has fallen in the interim between the Intel i5 and i7, and while the latter will give you a performance bump, for price and value we recommend the i5. (The i5 is an 8th gen processor with plenty of power, and paired with 8GB of RAM and a solid-state 256 GB drive in this machine, the power and speed afforded you will be great.)

But the real calling card here is the nearly bezel-less, touchscreen FullView Display, featuring a super-crisp 3K resolution and a 91% screen-to-body ratio. There are quad speakers, quad microphones, and a pop-out 1MP webcam for high-quality video calls, plus an all-day battery to keep you going through the whole work day. And with the built-in Windows 10 Signature edition (that has been stripped of bloatware and optimized for the MateBook), you’ll get an impressively clean experience right out of the box.

Best for Durability: Asus ZenBook S

Equal parts rugged and portable, this 13.3-inch, all-metal laptop weighs barely over two pounds and, thanks to a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery, can last for 13.5 hours. At just 0.5-inches thick, the Asus Zenbook S contains either the i5-825OU or an i7-855OU CPU, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and three USB-C ports. The ErgoLift hinge allows the keyboard to tilt by 5.5 inches for more comfortable typing and increased airflow beneath the chassis.

Multiple display options are available, including a 4K glossy touchscreen and an HD non-touchscreen, all of which are enclosed by barely-there 5.9mm-thick NanoEdge bezels. However, in a bid for lightness, the machine only packs Intel’s integrated UHD 620 graphics, though 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD options are available. The ZenBook S is not the cheapest option on the market, but was built to military specifications for durability and includes Amazon Alexa integration for voice control.

Best for Gaming: MSI GS65 Stealth Gaming Laptop

With requirements like mechanical keys and insane levels of processing and graphics speeds, gaming laptops are almost never considered “lightweight”. That’s what makes options like the MSI Stealth GS65 all the more interesting. It achieves its form factor with some smart design choices like a super-thin bezel that is less than 5mm. The screen they fit in there is pretty great to look at too, sporting IPS tech for great viewing angles and a 144Hz refresh rate to make things feel snappy. Those are important factors to consider because there’s an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 that is VR-capable, meaning that the graphics processing here is stunning.

This particular configuration has a super-fast 8th-gen 6-core i7-8750H processor alongside 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. That might sound like a lot of power, but this is actually where some of the concessions were made for the lighter weight, as many gaming PCs contain a lot more RAM. Seeing as it weighs just over 4 pounds, however, we can forgive some compromises. Finally, you’ll get some important gaming features including a stepped-up cooling system, Steel series keys that offer great tactile feel (especially for a laptop), and individual RGB lights for each key switch, allowing you customize the look.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best gaming laptops.

Best for Travel: Acer Swift 7

Acer Swift 7

Acer.com

Hailed as the “world’s thinnest” laptop when released, the Acer Swift 7 excels in both design and performance. The brushed aluminum body and chrome detailing are downright stylish, and it's got some brawn behind it, too — the battery life can last up to an impressive 10 hours. The 2.6-pound device features a 14-inch CineCrystal IPS touchscreen with narrow bezels for a vibrant cinematic experience. It even offers a biometric fingerprint sensor for added security.

The built-in LTE connectivity does require a subscription after the one-month free trial, but provides coverage in a majority of regions around the world and is a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers. Keep in mind that personal preference may dictate whether or not you like some of the Acer Swift 7’s distinct features, like a clickless trackpad and a webcam located below, rather than above, the screen.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 65 hours testing three top-rated lightweight laptops. To get the most comprehensive results, they configured them to their liking and experimented with their various capabilities, from sending emails to editing photos. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these lightweight laptops, from their battery life to their screen size and weight. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Lightweight Laptop

Battery life - One of the best features of lightweight computers is that their batteries tend to last longer. If you’ll be using your laptop on a plane or in a coffee shop, you’ll want to check its expected battery life so you aren’t constantly in search of an outlet.

Screen size - If 13-inch laptops are too small for you, we have good news: It’s not hard to find a lightweight 15-inch laptop. You’re likely going to have to sacrifice a little bit of weight for a larger screen, but if this will be your primary device, it might be worth an extra pound or two.

Specs - Lightweight laptops save on weight by having lower specs than comparable heavier models. These machines are often perfect for emailing and browsing the Internet. However, if you’re planning on doing some heavy-duty video editing, it’s important to pay attention to features such as processing power and RAM to ensure that your machine will be capable of doing what you need it to do.

Test Results: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 (Most Popular)

4.7

What We Like

  • Easy to use

  • Extremely portable

  • Responsive touchscreen

What We Don't Like

  • Unresponsive trackpad

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
ASUS Chromebook Flip
ASUS Chromebook
ASUS Flip C302

“Overall, this is a really great machine at a wonderful price point,” raved one of our testers, who thought it was the ideal combination of a laptop and an Android tablet. Another plus, according to our reviewers, was its portability, ease of use, and responsive touchscreen. “As someone who's long been a skeptic of touchscreen laptops,” one tester said, “this has made me somewhat of a convert.” However, one of our reviewers described the laptop's trackpad as “truly frustrating and not responsive.”

Test Results: Microsoft Surface 2 (Best Overall)

4.6

What We Like

  • Attractive design

  • Intuitive to use

  • Long battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy

  • Low number of USB ports

  • Bottom of laptop gets warm with use

Microsoft Surface 2
Microsoft Surface 2 Keyboard
Microsoft Surface 2 Stylus
Microsoft Surface 2 Touchscreen
Microsoft Surface 2

This laptop was the perfect combination of “gorgeous and functional,” according to one of our reviewers. One tester also loved its long battery life and felt that it was more intuitive than other PCs: “Small features, such as facial recognition, worked well without having to fiddle with settings repeatedly,” he explained. In terms of negatives, our reviewers thought it was heavy and reported that it got warm with continued use. One tester also wished it had more than one USB 3.0 port: “It has just enough ports that I wouldn't feel the need to travel with a dock,” he said, “but I found myself wishing I could charge my phone and attach an external USB hard drive.”

Test Results: LG gram 15Z970 15.6” (Best Large Screen)

4.6

What We Like

  • Simple setup

  • Very portable

  • Easy navigation

What We Don't Like

  • Screen too reflective

  • Inconvenient camera placement

LG gram 15Z970 15.6”
LG gram 15Z970
LG gram 15.6”
LG gram
LG gram laptop

“The three most impressive things about this device,” explained one of our reviewers, “are its ease of setup, extremely lightweight design — that’s also quite aesthetically pleasing and in the same vein as Apple products — and the easy-to-navigate desktop and start menu.” One tester also declared that this machine was the most portable laptop she’d ever used. On the other hand, one of our reviewers felt that its screen was so reflective that even a little bit of sun created a glare and that the camera positioning was strange: “It’s at the bottom of the screen rather than the top,” she noted, “which makes for a weird angle when you’re Skyping or video chatting.”